As the snow began to pick up outside on a frigid day during winter break in Atlanta, there was another weather phenomenon brewing inside the gym where the Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team was playing. This was no ordinary storm. It was a torrential downpour of three-pointers, orchestrated by second-year returning forward Connor Nally who tied a school record with seven made threes.
Even with this, the Spartans were unable to overcome No. 20 Emory University in a 91-59 loss on Sunday, Jan. 14.
After a disheartening 90-71 loss to the University of Rochester on Friday, Jan. 12, which ended the team’s four game winning streak, the Spartans looked to start a new streak against their first ranked opponent this season.
CWRU got off to a quick start with Nally hitting his first three 3-pointers, giving the Spartans a 13-10 lead.
The team went scoreless for a five minute stretch as Emory went on a 7-0 run, but CWRU clawed back with a jumper from second-year returning forward Michael Hollis and a three from second-year returning guard Monty Khela to take a 18-17 lead with about 12 minutes left in the first half.
However, the Eagles used a 26-7 run in the final ten minutes of the half to take a decisive 43-25 lead entering halftime.
The deficit grew up to 23 points, but the Spartans didn’t give in as they used two separate mini-runs to trim into the lead.
The first was an 8-0 run, which included a four-point play by Nally and a 3-pointer from first-year guard William FitzPatrick, to bring the score to 53-39 with 12 minutes left to play.
Another run of Nally’s 3-pointers cut the deficit to 12 points, 57-45.
Even with the runs to attempt a comeback, Emory wouldn’t give up, as they went on a 20-0 run over a four minute stretch with under 10 minutes left to play in the game to seal the victory.
The Spartans ended up falling 91-59 with Nally finishing with 22 points, and fourth-year veteran forward T.J. Duckett earning a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds.
The team finished the week with two losses, bringing their season record to 7-7 with a 1-2 mark in the University Athletic Association (UAA).
Looking to this week’s games, the team will continue its rigorous UAA schedule with a matchup at home against No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis on Friday, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. and travel to the University of Chicago on Sunday, Jan. 21.
“This weekend will be tough,” said Head Coach Todd McGuinness. “[Washington University in St. Louis] starts five seniors and they are playing great right now. We need to be tough and play hard this weekend.”